TAMPA — A Tampa cosmetic doctor accused of abusing Demerol is back in business.
The Florida Department of Health removed its emergency suspension of Dr. Christina Paylan's license last week because an addiction psychiatrist and a clinical psychologist evaluated her and say she's fit to practice.
She still faces criminal charges of obtaining a controlled substance by fraud, as well as fraudulent use of personal information.
Speaking publicly for the first time Monday, Paylan, 44, said that after seven months without an active license, she's glad she can finally work. But she's still upset. She said authorities' accusations that she abuses the pain medicine Demerol are false.
"So false, they're repulsive," she said.
In June, authorities accused Paylan and her boyfriend of illegally possessing Demerol, an addictive narcotic similar to morphine in strength. Paylan also was charged with trafficking hydrocodone and possessing Valium and Xanax. Those charges were dropped in December.
In the meantime, the Department of Health suspended her license in August with an emergency order. The agency said it had trouble communicating with Paylan, who was incoherent at times, and that she wasn't cooperating with evaluators.
She had missed five evaluation appointments before she made one on July 26, during which she tested positive for Demerol use, according to the order.
On Aug. 1, she told an evaluator the Demerol was prescribed by a surgeon whom she would not allow anyone to contact, the order states.
Paylan said Monday those allegations are also false. She believes she was punished for questioning her evaluator's professional abilities and integrity.
"I stood up to him," she said. "That's why this happened."
She was ready to fight the department's suspension. She hired a lawyer last fall and was heading toward an administrative trial, scheduled for this week.
The trial was canceled last week, right after the Department of Health reactivated her license.
In its order dropping the emergency suspension, the Department of Health said the psychiatrist and psychologist had evaluated Paylan in February and determined she was able to practice medicine with "reasonable skill and safety to patients."
Often, the state does not revoke a doctor's license simply because he or she was arrested. However, state officials have the option of issuing an emergency suspension order if they believe the doctor poses an immediate danger to the public. They no longer believe she does, according to the order.
The next hearing on Paylan's two remaining criminal charges is scheduled for Thursday.
Jessica Vander Velde can be reached at email@example.com or (813) 226-3433.